Do you ever feel like you’re caught in a slump you just can’t get out of? We can be so preoccupied with the things that aren’t going right in our lives that it can be all-too-easy to stay feeling glum. In fact, it’s quite difficult to break out of a negative cycle of thoughts and the reason for this is because our brains are wired to pay more attention to negative experiences. It’s a self-protective characteristic. Fortunately, we aren’t doomed to stay this way; we have the ability to break out of that negative feedback loop, and we can actually rewire our brains to think positively. Here are five ways you can get the ball rolling and make your mind happier:
Do something nice
Acts of kindness boost happiness levels. Something as small and simple as making someone smile works. Pausing to do something thoughtful has the power to get you out of that negativity loop. Do something nice that is small and concrete like buying someone a coffee – it doesn’t take much effort and will make you and your mate feel very good indeed. Focusing your energy on another person takes you out of yourself and your negative frame of mind and can act as an important reminder that the world won’t end because of a bad day. Remember, you can start again tomorrow.
Scan for three daily positives
At the end of each day, make a list of three specific positive things that happened that day and reflect on what caused them to happen. The good things could be anything — bumping into an old friend, a positive remark from someone at work, treating yourself to your favourite lunchtime treat. Celebrating small wins also has a proven effect of powering motivation and igniting joy. As you record your good things daily, the better you will get and feel. And as you’re literally keeping track of all the little good things that happened, meaning this will make it harder for your mind to slip back into a negative space.
Mind your mind
According to TIME, people spend just over 46% of their waking hours thinking about something other than what they’re doing, and this mind-wandering typically makes them unhappy. This is where mindfulness can really help you. Mindfulness is paying attention to the present moment without judgment. Opening our awareness beyond the narrowness of negativity can help bring back more balance and positivity into the picture – remember however bad things might seem, they could always be worse and focusing on the here and now will remind you of that.
Focus on past accomplishments instead of downfalls
Irish people, in particular, have a tendency to beat themselves up over past failures while rarely acknowledging their achievements. This way of thinking only breeds negativity. Why shouldn’t you give yourself a pat on the back for hitting your targets or finally finishing your to-do list? Making a mental note of your success in the past is key to moving forward. Forgive yourself for any errors made (we’re human, after all) and see them as an opportunity to learn and grow in the future. The more you think ‘I did that,’ the happier you’ll feel.
Remember, you choose how happy you are
How? By the type of thoughts you make. Positive thoughts make you happy while negative thoughts make you unhappy, so let the good thoughts flow freely and you’ll start to see the difference. It may sound cheesy, but you have the power within you to be happy, so start small, dream big and live life – only then will you realise how happy you can be.